Hard on Equipment

As I may have mentioned before, a good friend of mine builds electric motorcycles as a hobby. (He and I have a lot in common -- I met him in the philosophy program some years ago, and he's the one who got me into Strongman competitions.) He's been doing everything out of his home shop with hand tools, and was mentioning today that a fender he installed required 21 bolts. I suggested a mini-impact wrench and some impact sockets for a Yuletide gift to himself. 

Since some of you may be looking for gift ideas for a man in your life (or a statistically-unusual but not unheard-of woman), here is what I use.

The blue one is the Makita XDT11. The smaller red one is their XDT15. The smaller one is a better choice for bikes because it also has three power levels, which can help make sure you don’t strip or round off smaller bolts/screws. The bigger blue one is great for larger axle bolts on bikes, or general work on your truck.

My son prefers the American-made Milwaukee alternatives; they're heavier, but he thinks also stronger and more powerful. My sense is that there's plenty of power already for motorcycle bolts, which are often quite small. If anything I think the key issue is to balance the power you bring to the task with the risk of damaging the equipment (e.g. the bolt-stripping/rounding I was talking about).

That boy is, now that I think of it, hard on equipment. There's an appropriate Corb Lund song.

Maybe it's one of those things you learn with age and experience.

Cimmerian Thanksgiving

 UPDATE: Director Robert Rodriguez had a similar idea. I also saw this classic this morning:

Go to the threat

It's not what I would do, I'm sure. It's a good thing everyone isn't like me.
“It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let no one get hurt. I tried to bring everybody back,” he said Monday outside his home in Colorado Springs, where an American flag hung from the porch.
Funny how I see this story as about an eelbrain who was kicked back on the street last year for no good reason but finally stopped in his tracks by a random good citizen trained to use violence quickly and decisively for the public good. The press sees it as about the victimization of an imperiled voting bloc by a guy they'd love to portray as a member of the alt-right.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. As we often do, we're having a three-household gathering with our nextdoor neighbors, potluck. Greg is roasting a second turkey today. He wants to try a new recipe but felt I would object to abandoning the traditional one, which is fair. He's been brining and spice-curing a turkey for decades, now, and it's inimitable, but I'm looking forward to seeing how a John Besh recipe turns out. We'll bring over Spinach Madeleine and Presbyterian Green Beans. I made a little cranberry relish the way I like it, though probably no one else will eat it: fresh cranberries and a whole orange in the blender, with some sugar, crystallized ginger, and something for heat--in this case a dash of sambal manis. No need to cook it.

So far November has looked more like February: gray, drizzly, and rather cold. The winter vegetable crops are loving it. We may even get a crop of fall tomatoes. Today the sun has come out, so now it does look like November in South Texas. After a fresh wreath arrived in the mail this week, I scoured the yard for interesting berries and husks to add to it.

And here is my problem child, the most recent dog, who still can't get along with the others:

One last picture: my production so far this season of Froebel stars and crocheted snowflakes:

Actual "Journalistic Integrity"

A reporter assigned to craft a hit piece mistakes her job for actual journalism, and does that instead. There's a man-bites-dog story for you.

Never Try to Intimidate a Man in a Tam O'Shanter

"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything."

The Hunter Biden laptop story is likely to take on a new life when the Republican House takes its seat next year and gains investigatory powers. A central figure in that story is the laptop repairman, John Paul Mac Isaac, who turned the laptop over to the FBI, and eventually a copy of it to the press after the FBI "lost" their copy. Apparently he had some reason to suspect that they might given their treatment of him.
Mac Isaac described one of his first interactions with an FBI agent as "chilling." He said he was "overjoyed" when the agents handed him a subpoena, and he made a comment that he would change their names when he eventually wrote his book.

"That's when Agent Mike turned around and told me that, in their experience, nothing ever happens to people that don't talk about these things[.]" ... The comment, Mac Isaac suggested, was a warning against speaking out about what was going on.

And while Mac Isaac has said that Americans should be able to go to authorities without fear of retribution, he has experienced otherwise.

"I have been dealing with retaliation from multiple fronts for the past two years when what I did was leaked to the country." 

I don't know if he was wearing that hat when the FBI talked to him, but if he was they were fools to try to threaten him. You don't tug on a man's kilt for much the same reason. 

Notes from Gutenberg

I came across this in a Gutenberg project I'm working on, about pictures:
"... Rossetti saw the Blessed Damosel leaning from the gold bar of Heaven with eyes far
Deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven."
Painting and poem here.

“We Are All Different…”

just like everybody else

The article, if you like, is about why nonconformists like hipsters end up looking just alike even as they're trying not to conform. There can be mild variations, but they end up affecting a style that is quite conformist within its subset. A fellow has a mathematical model that seems to show that in any such case, conformity ends up resulting.

I don't know how good the model is, and I don't know what its assumptions are. But nonconformist groups -- defined as groups that reject mainstream society in some significant way -- have a lot more need to be able to identify each other than mainstream people do. If you're part of the mainstream, you can just assume that most people you meet will be on the same page. If you're very much not, it can be a matter of survival, flourishing, or even just comfort to be able to identify the few individuals out there who might broadly agree with you.

The visual cues exist in these subcultures because they're important, in other words. They have real natural selection value. So yeah, hipsters pretty much all look alike; and so do skinheads; and so do people who join the punk rock or metal fronts; and so forth and so on. So do highly orthodox religious dissenters, and not just for religious reasons. It's a matter of survival, and over untold generations humanity has learned it.